George Eastman was a man who always striving to make things bigger, better, and more profitable. Born in New York, he was the youngest child of his family and they lived on a 10 acre farm. He was self-educated for the most part and when his father died, he left school to work on pursuing business opportunities. Eastman had one vow: to repay his mother for all the hardships that she had endured for the family. He accomplished that goal with these notable inventions.
Most people are aware of George Eastman today because of the Eastman-Kodak Company. His most notable invention from this era in his life is the photographic film that he improved. His patents for improvement including the creation of a layer of gelatine that would prevent the film from twisting or curling the photographic paper while being developed. It made the film a lot easier to use, enhanced the development process, and made photography something that everyone could begin doing with ease. It was this process that would make photographic film for the motion picture industry possible and Eastman’s work is still the foundation of film that is use today.
You know how film gets fed through a standard camera today? That process was an invention of Eastman’s as well. Although film storage in a camera wasn’t something new, the problem with this storage was that the film could become exposed while sitting in the camera. What Eastman created with a partner was the ability to have an enclosed casing that would protect the film and then feed it to the light-sensitive areas of the camera only when someone was ready to take a picture. Once the film roll was spent, the user could then quickly retract the film back into the holder and then have it developed without additional exposure risks.
The Roll Holder Camera
In order to make his film holders a viable invention, Eastman needed a camera that would demonstrate the ability of being able to store the film snugly and safely when it was not in use. To that extent, he patented a camera in 1888 that would help him accomplish these aspects while also improving areas in the shutter mechanisms and lens mounting aspects of the traditional camera as well. This camera, as well as the new film and film holders that had been invented, became the backbone of his company and it made Eastman millions.
George Eastman was worth nearly $95 million when he passed away, but he gave away even more money than that during his lifetime. His overall record of donations is at least $100 million, helping to start everything from dental clinics to educational grants. Using the value of money today, Eastman made equivalent donations of over $1 billion. He ended up committing suicide because of a severely painful spinal condition, but his memory lives on in many forms – especially when it comes to advances in promoting public health.
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